Lapierre Aircode SL 900 Ultimate - first look - Road Cycling UK

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Lapierre Aircode SL 900 Ultimate – first look

Lapierre’s new Aircode race machine lands in the RCUK offices with all the bells and whistles

We’ve been chomping at the bit to be reunited with the new Lapierre Aircode since we first got a taste of the updated design down on the Cote d’Azur in June. Happily, the new bike has arrived in the RCUK stables and is ready for a full review, so we thought it the perfect moment to regale you with some of the details to whet your appetite, too.

First off, there’s a change in specification since our first ride review. Whereas we were aboard a Dura-Ace R910-specced Ultimate in France, this, frankly, is the ‘Full Monty’. Shimano Dura-Ace R9120 Di2, s’il vous plaît, with the same flagship frameset. Additionally, it also sports a full carbon finishing kit too, incorporating a Zipp SL70 aero bar and beefy SL Speed stem combination for just about the stiffest front end money can buy. Moreover, the Fizik Arione R1 saddle is now the carbon braided version, too.

Lapierre’s revamped Aircode aero bike has at RCUK HQ for review

This results in a bike that tips the scales, including the supplied Lapierre bottle cage you see pictured, at 6.92kg. For an aero bike in a size large (56cm), that’s impressive. Without access to scales back in June, I suspected the new Aircode could trouble the UCI weight limit without breaking a sweat – turns out my suspicions were well founded.

– Lapierre announce new Aircode aero bike and Pulsium endurance bike –

Let’s not forget why this bike exists, though. It’s the brainchild of extensive conversations between Lapierre’s lead product engineer, Remi Gribaudo, and French WorldTour team FDJ’s talented sprinter, Arnaud Demare. As a result, the new Aircode is designed to be more stable and easier to ride, so “in the key moments, Demare could handle the bike easier and make the most of his sprint,” according to Gribaudo

At the same time, Gribaudo and his team of engineers tweaked and refined the aerodynamic properties of the bike, incorporating NAC A and Kammtail profiles in the frame tubes that were first developed in the Aerostorm DRS time trial bike. There’s also a visually neater seattube that tapers around the rear wheel, and a lowered and more integrated headtube-fork junction to help manipulate airflow around the rest of the bike while sharpening handling.

We first got to grips with the 2018 Aircode in the south of France – but how will it perform back here on UK roads? (Pic: Jean-Luc Armand)

The tweaks must have done some good, because Demare went ahead and pinched his first stage win at this year’s Tour de France aboard this very frame. Arguably, the less said about the circumstances of that win, the better, but the bottom line is this is a bike capable of mixing it at the very highest level.

French champion Arnaud Demare won his first Tour de France stage on the new Aircode(Pic: Alex Broadway/SWPix.com)

Clearly it’s translated well on the international race scene, but the big question is how it can stand up to day-to-day on rough British roads, in ever more British conditions as we head into early autumn. Is it a full-bore race machine, or is it the easy-to-ride speed machine we first got an inkling of down in the south of France?

Watch this space.

Website: Lapierre

Something for the weekend showcases our pick of the latest tech to arrive at RoadCyclingUK. You can see more here.

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